N.U.T.Z (Demo) Review – A Solid Game

Please note:  This is an old, backlogged article and the result is likely swayed by my PC’s specifications.  Please bear this in mind whilst reading.  If you want to read some comprehensive, more in-depth reviews, I refer you to Chris.

N.U.T.Z is an in-development non-linear platformer where the player plays as a squirrel who is trying to escape somewhere, it was not abundantly clear to me what I was trying to escape, if anything, but this version is just the early-access demo, so I will cut it some rope. The developers describe this game as inspired “by classics such as Megaman and Metroid.”  Personally, I have never played Megaman or Metroid, so I am new to this style of game.

1 – Gameplay

The gameplay was something that I personally just did not enjoy.  The game was not very well optimised to my PC, but I managed to get it running – which is impressive for the game, because I don’t even meet the system requirements.  Despite this, my 12fps playthrough of most of the first level didn’t go all too well. I only played the game for 6 minutes, but if a game doesn’t hook me in that time, I’m not going to play it for much longer.  

The controls of the game, however are perfect, and it is theoretically made even better with a controller, if you can connect one to your PC.  In truth, the controller feels a lot better in terms of handling, compared to the keyboard, but the fire button is very counterintuitive, with me not being able to find the button to swing my sword.  You could call this stupidity, but I pressed most of the buttons and could not find the one to swing my sword.

So, what was wrong with the gameplay?  It just wasn’t fun, at least in my opinion.  I do not like games like N.U.T.Z, hence I have never played Megaman or Metroid.  The idea has never appealed to me, that’s why I just have never come to play this style of game.  The gameplay is too extravagant for me, I prefer slower-paced games, like Portal – where you can really take your time with some nice music in the background.  This game had very fast, intense music that was just too much for my brain to comprehend when coupled with the monsters and shooting. The gameplay is fun, if you like the style of game.

The game has got quite a lot of bugs, an example being the sudden wall glitching that fairly frequently caused my demise.  The game is in early-access, and the developers acknowledge that it isn’t perfect, so I expect these bugs to get better as time goes on.

A key feature is the replayability of each level.  The player can choose their character, so you may want to play through some of the level with one character and then play again with another character, all of which (from what I can tell) are free to use, with the game not including micro-transactions.

2 – Story

Having only played the first level, I can’t really comment on the story, but from what I can gather – it is about an alien invasion, and you are fighting the aliens.  You are thrown into the story straight away on the loading scene, and the description uses some terms that are not explained to the player, such as “ZDF Outpost” and a couple of others.

Chapter 0 starts off with an explanation of a missile that has struck the outpost for which you are resting.  The player is told that they survived, but their comrades were not so lucky. This leads me to assume that you seek revenge on the Alien race, as you try to evacuate as far away from the facility as possible.  I was not able to get so far as to find the rest of the story, because I found the game very hard, which is good for most gamers – who like a challenge.

Despite my incompetence not allowing me to experience the rest of the game, I think that the developer’s Kickstarter page explains the story better through the use of the trailer, which underlines the humour of the game, as well as the main story elements – which in effect, is all you need to know to be able to play the game.

3 – Visuals

The visuals in this game are stunning, they are perfect, in my opinion.  Everything is animated and has life. I feel like I am playing a cartoon like Danger Mouse, and this is definitely a positive.

The visuals look beautiful even on the lowest setting, and that is something the developers should be very, very proud of.  The team that did the art for this game clearly took a long time, painstakingly crafting wonderful visuals, to make the player feel like they are inside of their favourite childhood cartoons.  The animations feel great, and are seamless. They are not jerky or unnatural, they work how you’d expect animations to work in a game like this. However, when a character talks, their mouth seemingly does not move, and this is clear in the trailer.  

4 – Music and Sound

The music fits the mood of the game – it is very intense and fast.  I personally see this as a negative, but you may have your own opinions on this style of music.  I can only give the music a positive, however, because it fits the game, and that is all that really matters in the grand scheme of things.   Despite this, it would be nice to have an option to turn the music down, which I can’t personally find in the menus.

Conclusion

In conclusion, N.U.T.Z is an early access game with masses of potential. Even the demo version, for which this is, shows promise in its gameplay.  Despite this, I feel it could be optimised for lower-end computers further, if possible. If you are looking for a free arcade-platformer with solid shooting mechanics and gameplay, this game is for you.  We will have to wait to see the price of the full game when it releases, to really be conclusive.

Leave a Reply